There is something so homey and cozy about homemade bread and rolls! And, of course, the scent throughout the house of them baking makes the taste buds jump in anticipation of a hot roll, or slice of bread, fresh from the oven and slathered in melting butter.
Today, I am sharing a recipe for traditional pan rolls, so named because they are all bunched together in a baking pan as opposed to shaped individually and baked in muffin tins. These rolls are easy to make and take a minimum amount of ingredients, all of which are commonplace. While pan rolls don’t have the picture-perfect appearance of a roll baked in a muffin tin, they more than make up for it with their superb taste and texture.
These are also a good choice for anyone who is not so fond of crust since most of the rolls in the pan will have soft sides; only those on the outside edges of the pan will have crusts.
I do have some general tips for making successful pan rolls.
1. Water temperature for the yeast is very important. I find 100°F is a good general temperature to use. If the water is too cool, the yeast won’t rise and, if it is too hot, it will kill the yeast. A food thermometer is a handy tool to use when gauging the temperature of liquid for bread and rolls.
2. Let the yeast rise for about 7-10 minutes, until it is nice and foamy and be sure to stir it down before adding it to the batter.
3. The dough for this recipe is a soft dough. Resist the urge to add too much flour as it will make dry rolls. Only add enough flour that the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl.
4. There is no need to hand-knead this dough. Fit a stand mixer with a dough hook and let the machine do all the kneading.
5. Placing the bowl with the bread dough on a heating pad set on the low setting will provide a warm base for the dough to rise. Make sure the dough is covered with greased plastic wrap. This makes it much easier to remove than, say, a tea towel which may stick to the dough. Snuggle a lightweight wrap in around the bowl to create a draft-free incubator for the bread to rise.
6. Greasing your hands will facilitate the shaping of each roll.
7. Baking times are approximate. Rolls should be a nice golden brown color on top and have a hollow sound when lightly tapped with fingers. Rotating the pan once during the baking process helps to ensure that all rolls are equally browned.
¾ tbsp active dry yeast
¾ tsp sugar
½ cup warm water (100°F)
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
1¼ cup warm water (100°F)
½ tsp salt
Apx. 4½ cups all-purpose flour
In one-cup measuring cup, stir ¾ tsp sugar into ½ cup warm water until dissolved. Sprinkle yeast over the water and quickly, but gently, stir in the yeast.
Let stand 7-10 minutes until yeast is foamy and has risen to top of cup.
Meanwhile, with whisk attachment, beat the eggs in bowl of stand mixer. Beat in the sugar, oil, warm water, and salt.
Stir down the yeast and add to liquid mixture in bowl. Stir just to mix.
Replace whisk attachment with dough hook. Add the flour gradually, a cup at a time, and beat 3-5 minutes on medium speed (I use the “6” setting on my KitchenAid mixer.), scraping the bowl often to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
When enough flour has been added, the dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl. This is a meant to be a soft dough so be careful about adding too much additional flour. If necessary, add about 1 – 2 tablespoons at a time and only enough that the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (Note the dough in the photos below is not yellow; the coloring is due to incandescent overhead lighting above the work station.)
Transfer dough to large greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap and a tea towel.
Loosely wrap a light-weight blanket around bowl. Place in warm, draft-free place to rise. A heating pad on low setting makes a warm base for the dough to rise.
Let dough rise until double in bulk – about 1 to 1¼ hours.
Punch down dough.
Turn dough on to lightly floured work surface. Cut off chunks of dough into 24 equal-sized pieces and form into the size and shape of an egg.
Place in greased 9”x13” pan.
Cover with greased plastic wrap and a tea towel and return to warm place to rise again until double in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Bake in preheated 375°F oven for about 15 minutes, rotating pan once during the baking, until rolls are golden brown on the top and hollow sounding when tapped with fingers.
Transfer rolls from pan to wire rack to cool. Brush hot rolls with butter.
Yield: 24 rolls
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